Unique Spaces: The Roundhouse

by UrbanTurf Staff

Unique Spaces: The Roundhouse: Figure 1
1001 Irving Street NE

UrbanTurf's Unique Spaces series takes a look at properties that could be considered “one-of-a-kind” in the DC area. We wrote about The Roundhouse back in 2012 and we are re-running the article below. See all of our past Unique Spaces articles here.

DC is a city filled with traditional housing stock, largely made up of colonials, Tudors, bungalows and Federal townhouses. However, it is not known for circular-shaped homes.

Built in 1901 by John C. Louthan, 1001 Irving Street NE in Brookland is one of the few remaining octagonal houses in DC. (More round than octagonal, it is known as "the roundhouse" to its neighbors.) Louthan apparently built the home so that his wife, who was in a wheelchair, could more easily get around.

Unique Spaces: The Roundhouse: Figure 2
Living area and kitchen

In its 110-year history, the home has had just four owners, and, over the past 14 months, Ditto Residential, along with architect Chong Cao, has been transforming the home into a 2,400-square foot, four-bedroom house while maintaining the property's unique design.

Unique Spaces: The Roundhouse: Figure 3

In order to more than triple the size of the original living space, the rear circumference of the home was pulled out by 12 feet to make for an expanded living and kitchen area. The curved rear addition now houses the four bedrooms, including a master suite.

The developers also opened up the space by replacing the home's staircase. Originally, a spiral staircase dropped down from the second floor into the middle of the living room, and upstairs furniture had to be lifted through upper-level windows. The new house comes a custom-designed, four-foot metal staircase that leads up to a circular second-floor opening.

Unique Spaces: The Roundhouse: Figure 4

"Given the footprint of the home, we had to do something different," Martin Ditto of Ditto Residential said of the renovations.

However, a number of original features remain. The exterior still has a porch that runs the circumference of the house, and the existing garden was preserved and enhanced by landscape architect Carolyn Mullet.

Unique Spaces: The Roundhouse: Figure 5
Under construction.

Address: 1001 Irving Street NE (map)

Update: UrbanTurf did a follow-up to the article above once the home was purchased. 

See other articles related to: unique spaces, roundhouse, editors choice, dclofts, brookland

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/unique_spaces_dcs_roundhouse/6166


  1. GFR said at 6:35 pm on Tuesday October 16, 2012:
    Beautiful job. Passing this daily, I was excited to see the inside. It looks terrific.
  1. Josh said at 7:16 pm on Tuesday October 16, 2012:
    Spectacular. Turning this from an abandoned, deteriorating shell into a well-maintained, livable home is great for the neighborhood.
  1. Russell said at 9:12 pm on Tuesday October 16, 2012:
    Beautiful! Shame about the loss of the spiral staircase though, the one they choose does not match the character of the house.
  1. Jenny said at 9:06 pm on Wednesday October 17, 2012:
    @ Russell, I have to disagree. I think the stairs look great. I love the contemporary interior.
  1. David said at 4:32 am on Tuesday October 23, 2012:
    The house is beautiful. I live in Eckington, and drive past this house often. The staircase, well, I think it fits perfectly and am sure the design allows for space usage. It's truly beautiful in the photos. Open house?

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